Anna Hazare on Tuesday alleged he is being targeted by the government, claiming his records in the Army were being checked and people sent to his village in Maharashtra to check on his organisation.
“I have not done anything wrong throughout my life,” Hazare said.
The 74-year-old Gandhian said he was firm on his decision to go on an indefinite fast in Delhi from August 16 for a strong Lokpal Bill to tackle corruption.
The anti-corruption crusader was talking to newsmen at two separate events organised by the Mumbai Press Club and Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh.
“They( government) have sent people to check my records in the Army. They want to see if they can find something during my service years. I have not done anything wrong throughout my life,” he said. Hazare served as a jawan in the Army for 15 years.
The social activist alleged that the government’s intentions are not right and that was why they are trying to defame the civil society spearheading the anti-graft campaign.
“They have put people after me. They have sent people to my village to check on my organisation. I have no bank balance, so what will you find?. I live in a temple in a eight feet by ten feet room. I just have a plate to eat and a bed to sleep on. What will you find?,” he said. Hazare hails from Ralegan Sidhi village in Ahmednagar district.
Hazare said the agitation to demand a strong Lokpal is not aimed at any individual or party,
“This agitation is not against any individual or party. The common man is finding it impossible to live without encountering corruption. Corruption has increased and has led to inflation and price rise. Corruption is the root cause of inflation,” he said.
“Corruption may not end altogether but we can curb it by at least 80 to 90 per cent,” he added.
“We think this fight against corruption is the second battle for independence. Lakhs of people sacrificed their lives to force British out of the country. But in last 65 years, there has been no change.
“Scams like 2G spectrum allocation scam and Suresh Kalmadi’s CWG scam were unearthed due to RTI Act. But that act does not have the power to send culprits to jail. The Jan Lokpal Bill has that power. That is why we have been asking the government to enact this legislation,” Hazare said.
The Gandhian favoured strong punishment to deter the corrupt. “Why not provide for life term? In fact, we are saying that the corrupt should be hanged,” he said.
“There should be a provision to recover the amount involved in corruption. Merely sending the guilty person to jail won’t suffice. The money should be recovered from the person,” Hazare said.
Those in the government lack the will to create a corruption-free India, Hazare said. “We are saying bring in the Jan Lokpal. Give it autonomy. It should be free from any government control. But the government says it does not want such a strict legislation,” he said.
“This is because the government is run on the basis of corruption. There is a nexus between people’s representatives and staff involved in corruption. Our demand is to bring all offices under Lokpal,” he said.
Lokpal should probe corruption complaints, Hazare said. “At the state level, the government should not meddle with the (institution of) Lokayukta. What we are seeking is not beyond Constitution. We are not seeking to run a parallel government,” he said.
“How many IAS, IPS officers and how many ministers have been jailed? The reason is that CBI is under the government. Remove CBI from the government (control),” he added.
“An income tax officer can probe anyone, even the Prime Minister. Why is it not done?” he asked.
“When an MP asks for money to raise questions in Lok Sabha, what will happen to this country?” he said. TOI